Recently, I have become acutely aware of the fact that I have gained weight over the last several months. (You know it’s bad when even your stretchy yoga clothes start feeling a little tight.) A lot of things have contributed to this weight gain, among them, age and not being as active as I used to be. Because I am in no way fat, and am healthy and strong at my present weight I have been having a huge internal battle with myself.
Part of me is completely freaked out by the weight gain. I do not like what I see when I look in the mirror. The spreading out, the jiggling…how did I let that happen?!? A little voice in my head is screaming: Why haven’t you changed your diet? Why haven’t you been going to the gym and working out every day? This is unacceptable!
The rational part of me knows that I haven’t gained that much weight. I’m only 5’4 and have a small frame so even 5 lbs can make a difference. I am no longer interested in restricting what I eat or cutting things out of my diet. I juice, make smoothies, eat salads, and cook most things from scratch at home. I am also going to have the baguette with olive oil or ice cream when I feel like it. I am not interested in going to the gym for hours every day or taking really intense fitness classes. My body has endured a lot of wear and tear from being a dancer, most of my joints hurt all the time. I’m choosing the gentle yoga or Gyrotonic class over anything with the word bootcamp in it.
And yet, in this image-based society and working in a profession where I have lots of students looking at my body in form-fitting clothing every day, it is hard not to feel self-conscious, and even a little embarrassed by my body as it is right now. I find beauty and strength in each and every one of my students, no matter what size or shape their physical bodies are. I work privately with women who are so ashamed of their bodies and worried about what other people might think that they will not go to classes or the gym – it breaks my heart.
I feel stronger than I ever have. I have muscles and strength where I never thought I would. Sure, I have limitations based on chronic injuries, but I am content with what I can do. Am I going to switch up my weekly exercise routine to tone up and slim down a little? Yes. Am I going to eat a few more salads and a few less burritos? Possibly. Am I going to freak out over the fact that I now wear a size small install of an extra-small? No. After decades of not appreciating my body and loving it as it was, I am going to choose to accept my body as it is…as hard as that may be at times. After all, look what I can do!